Venerable Irenarchus, Abbot of Solovki

Saint Irenarchus of Solovki accepted tonsure at the Solovki monastery, and in his monastic life he zealously imitated the Monks Zosimus (April 17) and Sabbatius (September 27). In 1614, after the death of the igumen Anthony, Irenarchus became his successor. During these times the Solovki monastery held tremendous significance in the defense of Northern Russia from the Swedes and the Danes. The new igumen did much to fortify the monastery. Under the Monk Irenarchus there was constructed a stone wall with turrets, deep ditches dug, and with stones spread out.

Concerned about the external dangers to the monastery, the monk also devoted much attention to fortifying it inwardly and spiritually. Very humble and meek, constantly immersed in thoughts of God, he was zealous for supporting in the monks a true monastic spirit. Under the spiritual guidance of Saint Irenarchus at the Solovki monastery there matured many worthy ascetics. With the blessing of the igumen and under his assistant, Saint Eleazar (January 13), a friend and co-ascetic of the venerable Irenarchus, founded a skete monastery on Anzersk Island.

In an imperial document to the Solovki monastery in the year 1621, the monks were bidden “to live according to the rules of the holy Fathers... and in full obedience to their igumen (Irenarchus) and the elders”.

The last two years of the monk’s life were spent in silent prayer, and he reposed on July 17, 1628.